Sunday, March 27, 2011

Review: Picks Hamburgers are a winner

Ongoing Discussions about Food icons: The Bacon Cheeseburger

Picks serves one of the best burgers in town. After eating at Picks, I started thinking about some of our city’s tiny take out joints, Buns Hamburger House, Patati-Patata and Le Gourmet Burger. I am sure that since food trucks seem to be a right now trend and the fact our municipal by-laws forbid the sale of street food the debate will no doubt be re-emerging. The prohibition against street food has caused these businesses to seek refuge indoors and Picks is a perfect example with only 2 tables, 5 chairs, and 3 stools. Picks immediately distinguishes itself in the burger race as a Korean burger operation. You will understand this advantage as you read on but and be prepared for we shall reveal the secret ingredient.
As a Picks newbie I inevitably got the ordering etiquette wrong by stepping up to the counter to place my order. I was kindly escorted away to a small condiment table, that also contained arts & crafts paraphernalia, and was told to “use this.” I saw paper tickets that were mini menus and a cup full of markers. I could smell the food on the grill and coughed a few times because dense smoke often fills the small room. I flipped over the sheet and wrote my selections on the back with a big green felt tip marker. Looking at my awkward handwriting I wondered how the staff deciphered people’s chicken scratches. I started to worry about the impending burger disaster that would result because of my poor penmanship that was made worse due to the children's marker. After a moment, and upon seeing a bulletin board overloaded with previously filled out tickets, I realized you are supposed to color in your selections. I picked up another sheet and proudly presented my creation at the counter. 
We chose the picks burger (single patty), with mustard, ketchup, relish, mayonnaise, bacon, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion (they use purple), kimchi and coleslaw. This burger set us back $5.50 (taxes included) and at that price, the fresh condiment rich burger is one of the tastiest bargains in town. 
The show stopper
As the burger floated across the room and was presented in front of me it drew the attention of the neighboring table sparking a conversation. Clearly this burger was a show stopper that drew everyone's excitement but the only word that I could understand from the neighboring table and Korean exchange was “kimchi.” 
Kimchi on a burger, even though it was an extra cost and this goes against our rule of sticking to free condiments (with-the-exception-of bacon and cheese) we could not resist this temptation mainly because we love Korean food. Much to our delight kimchi is one of the most amazing burger condiments that we have recently tasted. Kimchi, is a Korean side dish made with fermented cabbage, garlic and chilies. Imagine a spicier version of coleslaw and garlic overload. Kimchi also uses larger cuts of cabbage than coleslaw and therefore has more bite. From what we have read, kimchi is extremely high with umami flavor (the 5th flavor) so it makes perfect sense as an ingredient on an opiate laced dish like a Bacon Cheeseburger. Since eating at Picks we think that kimchi would be the perfect ingredient for the Ultimate Umani burger. We will be experimenting with kimchi on our burgers at home.
Fresh and Tasty: perfect condiments
The Verdict: 
As we said this is one of the best burgers in town. When it first arrives you think big. The bun is large in diameter but thin enough, and fresh tasting, that it is not too much bread and  does not overwhelm the burger. The burger reminds you of  Dagwood Bumstead's sandwiches and is in fact a big salad burger. The meat was not over seasoned, allowing it and the fresh condiments to speak for themselves. The taste of so many fresh condiments reminded us a bit of a Harvey’s burger but with better fresher tasting ingredients and meat that tastes real. Because we chose so many vinegar based toppings (kimchi, pickles, relish, coleslaw) this was the predominate flavor. Next time we might hold off on the coleslaw, and maybe the relish, not because it was bad, just because it was bordering on too many flavors. With so many delicious toppings, both free and and inexpensive, it almost too easy to overload your burger.  The combination of juicy meat and brined based condiments caused a river of juices to flow from the burger, given the size of the burger it was a fun fresh, messy eating experience not unlike a children's arts and crafts project.
Juicy: a river runs through it
In case you missed it the first few times this is one of the best burgers in town. The price, tasty meat, nice bun, fresh condiments, and homemade touch all make for a winning combination. Obviously this is not fine dining, it is street food brought indoors, but you go to Picks for the great eats. 

No comments:

Post a Comment